Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945-1964

By John Baylis | Go to book overview
Save to active project

1
The Development of a Deterrence
Frame of Mind 1945-1947

As never before, the responsible statesmen of the great powers are faced with decisions vital not merely to the increase in human happiness but to the very survival of civilization.

( Clement Attlee, Sept. 1945)

IN the first two years after the Second World War ended an 'atomic climate' was created in Britain as the new Labour government under Clement Attlee laid the foundations of a nuclear weapons programme which was to remain a central feature of British defence policy down to the 1990s.1 A number of momentous decisions were taken to establish research, development, and production facilities as well as to develop atomic weapons and a long-range bomber force. It was these decisions which led to the first British atomic test in 1952 and to the deployment of a nuclear deterrent capability by 1955. These developments, however, obscured a major debate in British military and political circles, over whether the release of atomic energy constituted a new force too revolutionary to consider in the framework of old ideas or whether the new weapons were merely a more efficient means of destruction which nation states could use to defend or promote their interests in much the same way that they had done for hundreds of years. This was reflected in the new government's question to the Chiefs of Staff shortly after the defeat of Japan. They were asked whether 'The introduction of atomic explosives open[s] up an era of destruction on a scale never before considered feasible, or is it merely an intensive development of the existing

____________________
1
See AIR 41/87, Humphrey Wynn, ' The RAF Strategic Nuclear Deterrent Forces: Their Origins, Roles and Deployment 1946-1969: A Documentary History'. This study was published by HMSO in 1994.

-34-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945-1964
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 495

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?